Pectoralis major muscle strain: cause, symptoms, treatment (2023)


What is a pectoralis major muscle strain?

  • A pectoralis major strain refers to a tear in the large muscle that protects the chest. A pectoralis major strain typically occurs when the muscle is forcibly contracted in a stretched position. This can occur during bench press strength training.
  • When the bar is lowered, thelarge pectoral muscleextends across the chest. In this position, excessive force stretching combined with the need to use large muscle forces to raise and lower the bar can put too much strain on the muscle. The muscle is then torn. Collision sports and wrestling are other activities where this can occur. Physical therapy can help treat symptoms of pectoralis major strain.

Where is the pectoralis major muscle located?

Clavicle: Front surface of the sternum
Sterno-costal part: first 7 costal cartilages, sternal end of sixth rib
Abdominal part: the external oblique aponeurosis of the anterior abdominal wall

Apex of the furrow of the greater tuberosity

Shoulder joint: arm flexion (clavicular head), arm extension, arm adduction, arm internal rotation (sternocostal head);
Scapulothoracic joint: pulls the shoulder blade anteroinferior

Cause of pectoralis major muscle strain

  • Muscle tension occurs due to injury or trauma. this leads to:
    • Not warming up properly before physical activity
    • bad flexibility
    • bad conditioning
    • overexertion and fatigue
    • weakness

Symptoms of pectoralis major strain

  • The first sensation felt when the pectoralis major muscle tears is a sudden pain. This pain is usually felt in front of the armpit and sometimes in the chest. At the same time, you may also feel that something is "tearing" in your chest. For small tears, you may be able to continue playing with a little pain.
  • However, as the muscle cools, the pain can slowly worsen as bleeding and swelling develop in the injured muscle. The pectoralis major is usually tense and tight.

Other symptoms are:

  • limited range of motion
  • swelling/inflammation
  • rigidity
  • weakness
  • muscle cramps
  • sharp or dull pain
  • Difficulty moving the affected area
  • hematoma

Classification of pectoralis major muscle tension

  • 1st ClassThis results in minor muscle damage that causes pain and discomfort, but still has full function.
  • Note 2Significant tissue damage resulting in moderate loss of motion is a severe grade 2 chest strain.
  • 3rd gradeMuscle strains will be the muscle fibers that have been torn, resulting in a complete tear and a large loss of function.

Diagnosing the strain on the pectoralis major muscle

Diagnosis is usually based on history and examination. If there is concern that the extent is severe, an MRI is usually ordered.

Ultrasound can be done but is less conclusive for pectoral muscle tears than for other injuries.


subjective evaluation
History with associated symptoms
injury mechanism
Direction of initiating trauma and magnitude of injurious force
Injuries related to incorrect postures due to repeated trauma

Not objectiveEvaluation, there will be:
Muscle tenderness - to touch at the site of injury
Bruising can occur within hours or days.
Stretching the muscle reproduces the pain.

Treatment of pectoralis major strain

The treatment of plantaris hyperextension depends on the severity of the injury, the doctor will examine you, depending on the severity, condition and assessment, plan a treatment.

The most important time for initial treatment of a pectoralis major strain is the first 24 to 48 years
hrs. This is when there is increased bleeding and inflammation around the injured muscle. In order to control the extent of the swelling and thereby limit the stage of injury to the pectoral muscle, the muscle should be treated at rest and with ice.

If the patient has grade 1 and 2 muscle strains, the patient should rest, apply ice and take painkillers. Grade 1 and Grade 2 muscle strains take 3-6 weeks to recover. Patients with a grade 3 muscle strain should undergo surgery. A grade 3 muscle strain takes about 12 weeks to recover from.

Medical treatment

for now

  • Some therapists suggest avoiding uncomfortable pain relievers that can prolong your bleeding risk, similar to over-the-counter (OTC) drugs (naproxen sodium (Aleve), aspirin, and ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB), acetaminophen for the first 48 hours after a muscle strain). (Tylenol) and others may be helpful during this time to reduce pain.
  • A physical therapist can help you increase the strength and stability of the injured joint or limb. Your doctor may suggest that you stabilize yourself with braces. Some muscle injuries may require sprint surgery of the pectoralis major muscle.

To prevent swelling and pain as first aid according to the RICE principle

  • R rest
  • I - ice cream to cool down
  • C-Touch Compression and Immobilization
  • height e

the R.I.C.E approach

  • Rest.Avoid activities that cause pain, swelling, or discomfort. Do not avoid all physical activities.
  • it isAlso, if you search for medical facilities, immediately freeze the world. Use an ice pack or tub of ice and water anytime for 15 to 20 minutes and repeat every 2 to 3 hours. On the other hand, you are awake for the first few days after the injury.
  • Compression.To stop the swelling, compress the eyeball with an appropriate bandage until the swelling stops. Don't roll it too tight or you may disrupt blood circulation. Start wrapping at the top furthest from your heart. Release the bandage if the pain increases, the space becomes numb, or there is swelling under the bandaged area.
  • Elevation.Elevate the burned area to about the width of your heart, especially around midnight, and let gravity reduce the swelling.

Physiotherapeutic treatment for flatulence of the large pectoral muscle

The purpose of the handling activity is

  • Reduce pain in the affected area,
  • Reduce muscle inflammation
  • Allow time for tissue to heal and reduce sustained stress on the large pectoral muscles.
  • Improve range of motion without shoulder pain.
  • Restore full functional activities.

Phase one: one to two weeks

Rehabilitation with physiotherapy can start 48 hours after the injury. Administer an electrical modality for the first few days to reduce swelling and pain.


Ultrasound has been used for tissue healing.
Improve blood circulation and mobility.
To reduce swelling and pain.


Inflammation and swelling can be reduced by applying cryotherapy in the form of ice packs and cold water baths to the injured area. Continuous cold application 3 to 4 times a day for 15 to 30 minutes each time is recommended.


Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS)It can help relieve pain and muscle spasms.

Dos phase: three to six weeks

Pectoralis major muscle strain: cause, symptoms, treatment (1)

The first few days begin with light to moderate pain-free movement.

  1. Shoulder Extension (isometric)
    Stand with your back to the wall and your arms at your sides.
    Spread your elbows straight and push your arms toward the wall. Hold the position for 10 seconds and then relax.
    Repeat 10 to 15 times.
    Do it 3 times a day.
Pectoralis major muscle strain: cause, symptoms, treatment (2)

2) prayer press
Isometric chest presses are usually performed while seated or standing. Begin by clasping your hands in front of your chest in a prayer position.
Keep your elbows at a 90 degree angle. Apply as much pressure between your palms as you can,
Hold the position for 10-15 seconds and then relax for 5 seconds.
Do 10 to 15 repetitions

Pectoralis major muscle strain: cause, symptoms, treatment (3)

3) Bending of the wall
Place the palm of your hand against the wall at shoulder height along with your body tilted inward in a slight drop.
Your feet should be flat on the floor.
It may also be necessary to stiffen the soles of the shoes to prevent slipping.
Squeeze your arms, chest, and hands as if you're trying to push off the wall, drawing your shoulder blades down as you push.
To complicate the exercise, lower your hands to hip level.
Do 10 to 15 repetitions

Pectoralis major muscle strain: cause, symptoms, treatment (4)

4) chest pressure
When you hear "chest," you probably think of an activity performed on a machine or with free weights, but an isometric chest requires nothing more than your own arms to pull it off. Sit up straight or stand and put your hands together and hold them in front of you at chest level. Squeeze them with as much pressure as you can while tightening your pecs.
Hold this position for 10-15 seconds before relaxing for 5 seconds.
Do 3 sets of 10 to 12 reps, resting 2 minutes between sets.

Pectoralis major muscle strain: cause, symptoms, treatment (5)

5) Shoulder flexion and extension
A shoulder curl is when you move your arms up and over your head from a resting position at your sides.
An extension is when you move your arms and bring them back.

6) Protraction of the scapula
Scapular protraction is also known as scapular abduction.
The scapula moves laterally and anteriorly along the chest wall.

Pectoralis major muscle strain: cause, symptoms, treatment (6)
Stretching exercise for the pectoralis major muscle

After pain relief, do small painless stretching exercises.

1) Dehnung des Musculus pectoralis major
shoulders at a 90° angle, distribute the weight on the feet,
Lean forward and squeeze your shoulder blades together.
Hold for 10 to 15 seconds.
do 5 times

Pectoralis major muscle strain: cause, symptoms, treatment (7)

2) Shoulder flexion stretch
Stand in front of a wall.
Slowly run your fingers along the wall until you feel a stretch.
Hold the stretch for 20 seconds.
Return to normal position.

Pectoralis major muscle strain: cause, symptoms, treatment (8)

Phase three: six to twelve weeks

1) rowing exercise
Tie a rubber band around a stationary object and hold the ends in each hand.
Keep your forearms straight and your elbows at shoulder level and bent at 90 degrees.
Pull the band back and bring your shoulder blades together.
Repeat 10 to 15 times

Pectoralis major muscle strain: cause, symptoms, treatment (9)

2) Incline push-up
Start with your hands against a wall or table-high surface. Step your feet back
so that your body forms an angle of about 45 degrees with the floor.
Keeping your body straight and your spine in a neutral position, lower your chest toward the surface you are standing on.
Pause for a moment and return to the starting position.
Do 10-12 repetitions

Pectoralis major muscle strain: cause, symptoms, treatment (10)

3) The arms slide down the wall.
Stand with your back against the wall and your elbows and wrists against the wall.
Slowly push your arms up as high as you can, keeping your elbows and wrists on the wall.
Do 15 to 20 repetitions

Pectoralis major muscle strain: cause, symptoms, treatment (11)

4) Lie flat on your back
Lie on your back on the bench with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Hold the dumbbell with your thumb supporting the dumbbell and your palms facing your feet.
Near the ceiling, push your arms straight up to lift your body. Bend your elbows at a 45-degree angle and slowly lower the slide toward your chest.
Hold the dumbbell almost at chest level.
Pause briefly, then press the load down to return to the starting position.
Perform 3 sets of 10 to 12 reps

Pectoralis major muscle strain: cause, symptoms, treatment (12)

5) Resistance band sweater
You sit on your back with your head pointing towards the Theraband connection point.
The band is placed 1 to 2 feet above the head.
Then hold the band up so that there is slight pressure on the band.
It should be Hold your thumbs up toward the sky, palms facing each other.
Keep your core muscles tight and your elbows straight.
Pull the band towards your hips.
Then return to the normal position.
Do 10 to 15 repetitions

Pectoralis major muscle strain: cause, symptoms, treatment (13)

6) External rotation with resistance:
Sit or stand, resistance band in both hands, elbows at sides, bent 90°, forearms forward.
Bring your shoulder blades together and rotate your forearms outward. keep your elbows at your sides.
Hold for 10 to 20 seconds.
Perform 5 times per set

Pectoralis major muscle strain: cause, symptoms, treatment (14)

7) push up
Lie on your stomach and place your hands slightly wider than your shoulders.
Straighten your arms and legs.
Lower the body along the chest, almost touching the floor.
Pause and push your body back to normal position.
Do 10 to 20 repetitions.

Pectoralis major muscle strain: cause, symptoms, treatment (15)

How to prevent pectoralis major strain?

  • Before doing any exercise or sporting activity, do a proper warm-up.
  • Stretch after your workout or sport
  • Avoid immediate intense strength training and build strength gradually
  • As part of your general physical activity, include regular stretching and strengthening exercises for your sport, fitness, or work performance
  • An exercise program can help minimize the risk of muscle strains.
  • Try to be in shape to practice your sport; Don't do your sport to get fit.
  • If you have a physically demanding job, regular exercise can help prevent injury.
  • Follow a healthy diet and exercise program to maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight can put extra strain on your muscles and lead to muscle strains again.

frequently asked questions

  1. 1. How is a pulled pectoralis major muscle treated?

    Physiotherapy treatments can be very effective in relieving pain after injury and
    Reduction of harmful postural effects. Ice is used for an acute muscle strain that is still inflammatory, but ift or tens can eventually be used to improve blood flow to the muscle and relieve tension.

  2. 2. What does a pectoralis major muscle strain look like?

    The first sensation felt when contracting the pectoralis major muscle is a sudden pain. This pain is usually felt in front of the armpit and sometimes in the chest. At the same time, you may also feel that something is "tearing" in your chest. With degree 1 tension, you can continue to work with slight pain.

  3. 3. How do you know if you tore your large pectoral muscle?

    Immediate pain at the time of injury.
    bruise around the chest.
    swelling around the chest.
    Loss of strength and movement in the arm.

  4. 4. Is it still possible to train with a tense chest?

    You should avoid difficult exercises like weight lifting while you are resting. As your pain subsides, you can slowly return to your previous activities and sports. Pay attention to everyone
    any pain or other symptoms you are experiencing and rest if necessary. your recovery time
    depends on the severity of your stress

  5. 5. With which exercise is the pectoralis major muscle loaded?

    With acute injuries, you need to rest to allow the muscle to heal properly. After a few days of REST, you should begin gradual active exercise for strengthening and strengthening under the guidance of the physical therapist. The following exercise can be helpful, but never start in the acute phase of the injury.

    chest pressure
    prayer press
    Scapula protraction
    shoulder flexion
    bending curve upwards

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